The History of Bible Baptist is best understood through it’s pastoral leadership. While the corporate work of the church is of far greater importance than the church’s pastor, the pastor sets the tone and defines the church more than anything else.
1968–1970 – Rodell Bledsoe
Rodell Bledsoe (left) stands beside a sign marking an early location of Bible Baptist.
In the fall of 1968, Rodell Bledsoe, a young graduate of Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri was sent to Mattoon to start Mattoon’s first independent Baptist church. Meeting in storefronts, his own home, and other rented properties God started to work and a small church was quickly established.
1970–1972 – Bill Carter
Bill Carter came to pastor Bible Baptist in 1970. Under Pastor Carter’s influence and leadership, the church grew more and souls were saved, and property was purchased at the current location on Marion Avenue.
1972–2010 – Tom Pullen
This picture, taken around 1980, shows BBC during the early years of Pastor Pullen’s ministry.
Tom Pullen accepted the call to pastor Bible Baptist in 1972. When Pastor Pullen came, he came to a handful of people meeting in a partially finished church building. The church parsonage (which came with the church property) had not been lived in in decades and Satan had been working in the church.
Under Pastor Pullen’s long leadership the church grew to its current size. Pastor Pullen expanded the church property to include a fellowship hall and kitchen and a gym building with dormitories. After conflicts with the local school board about inappropriate school curriculum, Pastor Pullen led the church to start the Bethel Christian Academy, which operated for almost 25 years. Pastor Pullen also became a friend to many evangelists, with several joining the church and eventually forming an annual evangelism conference.
Pastor and Mrs. Pullen shortly before his retirement.
Pastor Pullen was a strong Bible preacher and his sermons are still heard on several radio stations across the country. He stepped down as Pastor in 2010 at the age of 81 having pastored Bible Baptist for almost 39 years.
2010–2011 – Rocky Holcomb
After a brief transition period, Rocky Holcomb served as pastor. Pastor Holcomb led the church through a difficult adjustment period after Pastor Pullen had served for so long. Despite this, several families were added to the church during his short time as pastor and the church completed construction of a new church parsonage. Pastor Holcomb stepped down as pastor in 2011 because of health reasons.
2011-Present Ryan Hayden
A group of BBC members travelled all the way to Athens, TN to be a part of Pastor Hayden’s ordination.
In November 2011, the people of Bible Baptist unanimously called Ryan Hayden to be their pastor. Since Pastor Hayden’s arrival, the church has begun a complete renovation of it’s property, has added several new ministries including a Master Clubs Children’s program and a group for Mothers in Mattoon and has seen much numerical growth.
Come be a part of the story.
God has promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail upon the church, and has ordered the church to occupy (literally “to take ground”) until Christ returns. Bible Baptist is a church with a rich history, but we believe our best and most fruitful days are on the Horizon.
Why not consider being a part of our future and partnering with us in the Lord’s work?